Shadow Dancing
April 7, 2008 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Help me to become a shadow...

I recently became friendly with a friend-of-a-friend, and she's invited me to come to a Neverland (ala Peter Pan, not Michael Jackson) themed party next month. Costuming is required. The story of Peter Pan is full of characters that would be incredibly easy to costume (pirates, "Indians", etc.), but I'm hoping to be a little bit more creative and go with a character that I can be confident that no one else would attempt, as I'm trying to make an impression and there will be a lot of people at this party that I've never met before.

I was considering going as Peter's rebellious shadow, but I've thus far been stumped as to how I could portray this without looking like I was dressed as a ninja (bad) or in blackface (much, much worse). The hivemind is full of consistently creative people, so I was hoping that one of you could point me in the right direction. How does a man become a shadow? Alternately, what are some other costumes that fit the theme but will likely be unusual? I had considered going as the Jolly Roger (the ship), but determined that it would ultimately be too bulky and not conducive to partying, so if there's a way that I could do that while still retaining party capacity, I'd be interested in hearing it.
posted by Parasite Unseen to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What about going in the black ninja suit deal, but with a cutout or inflatable pan attached to you?
posted by frieze at 3:12 PM on April 7, 2008

You need a Peter Pan costume where everything is black. Black tights, black shirt, black pointy hat with a black feather, and so on. I think it would be clear.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:15 PM on April 7, 2008 [5 favorites]

In the NinjaBurger card game, there's a piece of equipment called a 'Portable Shadow.' It's a cardboard standee from a movie promo spraypainted black.

It seems like that'd be pretty straightforward; do a big cardboard cutout of Peter Pan, then hide behind it. Lurk near walls.
posted by MrVisible at 3:15 PM on April 7, 2008

Go as a "kiss" - a thimble or an acorn button.

"I think it's perfectly sweet of you," she declared, "and I'll get up again," and she sat with him on the side of the bed. She also said she would give him a kiss if he liked, but Peter did not know what she meant, and he held out his hand expectantly.

"Surely you know what a kiss is?" she asked, aghast.

"I shall know when you give it to me," he replied stiffly, and not to hurt his feeling she gave him a thimble.

"Now," said he, "shall I give you a kiss?" and she replied with a slight primness, "If you please." She made herself rather cheap by inclining her face toward him, but he merely dropped an acorn button into her hand, so she slowly returned her face to where it had been before, and said nicely that she would wear his kiss on the chain around her neck. It was lucky that she did put it on that chain, for it was afterwards to save her life.

posted by NoraCharles at 3:17 PM on April 7, 2008

It has been a long time since I've read/seen peter pan, so I don't actually remember his rebellious shadow. The only reason I point this out is because on top of a peculiar costume, you may find yourself having to do a lot of explaining about this part of the story.

That aside, I think the best way you can convey this would be to do a grey-scale version of a peter pan costume. This may or may not need to include a dark body stocking underneath to convey the point. Ultimately, there is no way you can look like an actual shadow without someone you know attending the party with you, dressed as peter pan. The grey-scale aspect will better convey what you are going for.

Barring that, I'll bet an email to randy constan would provide the best, most creative suggestions for peter pan party costumes.
posted by necessitas at 3:18 PM on April 7, 2008

a grey-scale version of a peter pan costume

Exactly! Not all black, because then you would look like a ninja.

Here's a pretty decent photo of the effect you're going for. Of course, it would look twice as good if you knew someone who was going as Peter, and you...well...shadowed him.
posted by muddgirl at 3:27 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

percussive paul has it. wear an all-black peter pan costume.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:40 PM on April 7, 2008

PercussivePaul almost has it. It needs to be dark gray, not black. You've never seen a black shadow.
posted by bricoleur at 4:03 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you want to shadow your face, you could use very large women's black panty hose. They will become gray and translucent when stretched over your face (you'll want to use a thigh, not the crotch).
posted by amtho at 5:13 PM on April 7, 2008

Yeah I think everyone is right - dark gray would be better.
posted by PercussivePaul at 5:16 PM on April 7, 2008

With the dark gray peter pan suit mentioned above, you might be able to put on some light gray facepaint without triggering the "omg blackface" response. (although it might make you look like zombie peter pan)
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:08 PM on April 7, 2008

dress as a jar of peter pan peanut butter
posted by troika at 6:25 PM on April 7, 2008 [3 favorites]

dark grey peter pan suit!

peter's rebellious shadow was a pretty big part of the story in my memory; I can't imagine people forgetting it! then again I haven't read it in ages.
posted by Xianny at 7:41 PM on April 7, 2008

Seconding the fat lady black pantyhose for all of the "skin" parts you want to cover. Body paint is messy and tedious anyway. (Also Nthing the dark gray Peter Pan costume.)
posted by phunniemee at 10:28 AM on May 13, 2008

By the way, you probably already know this but... you're not going to find a grey Peter Pan costume. Shouldn't be at all difficult to buy a regular one and dye it in your bathtub, though - it only takes like an hour.

If you wanted to be extra "shadowy" you could get some grey chiffon and hang it off you in places, but then you might just look like a ghost. Eek, Dead Peter!
posted by GardenGal at 8:47 AM on May 14, 2008

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